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How to
divorce
a narcissist.

No fuss, no complications.

 

If you are thinking of getting divorced from a narcissist, chances are that the worst is yet to come. Such relationships are likely to become high-conflict, expensive and traumatic, especially without the right support.

We strongly recommend that you engage legal assistance if your spouse lacks empathy, exploits relationships for personal gain and has a thirst to win at all costs. You need the right assistance if you want to move forward.

DG Family Law will assist and advocate for you to avoid common traps, give you confidence to take the next step and peace of mind as you continue your journey.

Let us help you today.

Quotation marks

I just wished if I could have started my journey with Joshua, things

would have been a [lot] less painful.

... stop wasting your valuable time and money with other Law firms.

 

~ direct quote from another satisfied client.

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You and your family deserve to be safe.


DG Family Law will assist you to navigate and finalise your family law matters, give you your life back and do it in an affordable and timely manner. You can rest assured that with DG Family Law, you are in safe hands. We have outlined some helpful tips and tools on how to engage well with a narcissistic below for you to consider and know what to expect.
 

01

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03

Learn your Triggers.

Set your Boundaries.

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You have just been in a relationship with the other parent so it should be no surprise that they will know what triggers will make you feel stressed, overwhelmed, angry or Similarly, you will know their triggers. Breaking the dynamic of setting off each other’s triggers is important to being able to communicate effectively about your children. Do not be afraid to invest in external supports to assist you in overcoming this dynamic. Both you and your children will benefit.

No one’s perfect. No one has it all together. You’re likely a bundle of nerves and messy emotions that seem confusing and contradictory, even. Confide in friends and family, ask them to keep you accountable with your thinking and actions, and just vent, if you need to.

Or seek out a therapist if you think you could benefit from more professional help and guidance. Whatever you do, don’t bury your emotions or ignore them. They could come barreling out at the wrong place and time, causing all kinds of unexpected consequences.

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  1. You do not need to respond to every piece of communication from your former partner — The most unproductive part of our current social conditioning with technology is that we feel the need to have the last win by text. While it is upsetting to receive communication from your ex about you, your family or your parenting style, there is little to no benefit in responding or engaging with such communication. It will not improve future communication and will most likely erode the parenting relationship further and increase conflict. If a response is not necessary, does not improve the situation or change the other persons view on an issue, leave it alone.

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  1. Create and enforce boundaries – Some clients have found it easier to adopt a business‑like approach to communicating with the other parent. This can achieve effective communication however is often easier said than practiced. Agreeing on a method of communication, the frequency of communication and what the communication will be about is the first step to establishing a new line of communication. These boundaries for communication need to be realistic and achievable for you both to ensure that you limit your children’s exposure to any potential conflict between their parents.

 

  1. If you cannot pick up the phone and deal with issues civilly, then it is critical to put everything in writing. This can be done through e-mails, text messages, or even websites such as Our Family Wizard®.

 

Set boundaries on the time you spend dealing with your divorce. You do not need to respond to every text or e-mail from your ex; once a day is sufficient. Get a good night’s sleep by avoiding divorce “work” – documentation, responding to correspondence – just before bedtime. Take regular “divorce vacations.” This means that you refrain from talking about your Narcissist ex when you’re out with friends, or on a date. Taking time away from divorce will help you recharge your batteries and enjoy the good things in your life. 

 

04

Do not Defend Yourself.
 

05

Document Everything.

06

Hire a Reasonable Solicitor.

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We see it all the time. A spouse’s self-centeredness becomes, somehow, attractive, pulling you back into his orbit. Before you know it, your narcissistic ex has convinced you you’re crazy, your needs are outlandish, or that your perspective is simply wrong.

This often happens when blinded by emotions. As the Huffington Post recently put it, “Stop feeling, start thinking.” In other words, avoid the temptation to feel sorry for your ex, and think through the repercussions of any decision you make.

A few months ago we wrote about the six signs that show it might be time to move on from your narcissistic spouse. If you haven’t read it yet, do so now. And if you have, read it again. As often as it’s needed, remind yourself of these signs and the wake of destruction they left in your life.

 Develop a drama-free communication style. Although it may be tempting to respond to your ex’s hostility with sarcasm, rage, or defensiveness, resist the urge! Remember: your ex wants to engage you in battle, so the best way to disengage is to separate your feelings from the information that needs to be exchanged. If you don’t think you can open your ex’s e-mail without blowing a gasket, ask a friend to read it for you. Then cool off before responding.

4. Practice self-care. Divorcing a Narcissist is exhausting, so make sure you take care of yourself: exercise, eat regularly, sleep, see friends, get therapy and take medication if needed.

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It’s tempting to think of this as deceptive or sneaky, but by documenting your interactions — and your ex’s interactions with the kids — you’re merely arming yourself with a record of the truth. A logged account of how much time you spend with the kids, or even documentation of a simple phone call, could save you in court.

2. When you’re divorcing a narcissist, expect your spouse to use the kids as pawns. The Narcissist will try to hurt you by obstructing your relationship with your children. In their black-and-white worldview, they are The Good Parent and you are The Bad Parent. Minor parenting snafus will be conflated into allegations of child abuse and neglect. The Narcissist will never recognize that the kids suffer when they’re pressured to take sides, so attempts to amicably co-parent will most likely fail.

3. Narcissists create drama. The Narcissist’s relentless need for attention and “anything to win” philosophy means that you’re probably heading for a high-conflict divorce. Some classic high-conflict moves include: bad-mouthing, cyber-bullying, threats, interfering with your visitation time, turning molehills into mountains.
Narcissists blame everything on you. The Narcissist’s grandiosity prevents her from owning her part in problems. That means you are the one who ruined the marriage, you are the one who’s screwing up the children, and you are the one who’s responsible for anything in her life that’s less than perfect. Expect that you will always be the fall guy and don’t try to prove your innocence.

4. Narcissists lack conflict resolution skills. Resolving conflict requires recognizing that other people have basic rights, are entitled to their own point-of-view, and that there is more than one way to solve a problem. Narcissists lack the self-awareness and flexible thinking to do any of these things, which is why mediation often fails.

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Don’t assume all attorneys are created equal. And don’t be tempted to hire one of those bulldog lawyer-types who promise to fight, fight, fight on your behalf. At Babbitt & Dahlberg, we’ll fight for you, but we’ll do it smartly and deliberately. And we have the experience to back it up.

This one can be hard to stick to, particularly if you have kids together, when it may be unavoidable. But if you push all communication regarding the divorce itself through your lawyers, you can avoid most of your spouse’s attempts to hurt and control you. Keep conversation centered on the kids only, not their custody, nor anything else related to the case.

Don’t forget: Narcissists can be alluring, and that doesn’t necessarily stop just because you’re divorcing. In fact, when a narcissist feels hurt or cornered he might be more likely to turn on the charm, whether toward you or the courts.

If you find that you and your spouse need to continue to communicate directly, consider using a service like Our Family Wizard to manage and document what’s said. The service permits both parties and their attorneys to monitor the communications, down to and including seeing when a particular email was read by the other side, and provides some transparency that encourages better behavior and cooperation between the parties.

Don’t listen to advice from friends and family. They mean well, but they probably don’t understand that garden-variety divorce wisdom doesn’t apply to your crazy situation. Your ex isn’t going to get over it, put the kids first, or otherwise behave like a rational human being. So the next time your friends reassure you that your ex can’t be “that unreasonable,” or will one day “come around and do what’s right for the kids,” thank them for their concern and say you’d rather not discuss your divorce.

You want a lawyer who does not respond to every crazy allegation, generate mountains of paperwork, or advise you to go to court over minor issues.